Clarke ready for action

Michael Clarke believes that the long break the Australian cricket team is in the midst of is not ideal in terms of match preparation for the Ashes series later in the year.

But the classy batsman also said that the lack of cricket until England arrives in Australia is good for some of his teammates trying get over niggling injuries, refresh and sort with personal issues, with champion fast-bowler Glenn McGrath's support of his cancer-stricken wife, Jane, in mind with regard to the latter.

Australia do not play a Test series before the Ashes battle against the old enemy, with the ICC Champions Trophy, a limited-overs tournament, the only international cricket that the national side will see before the first match against England in Brisbane on November 24.

"Unfortunately there is no longer version games before the Ashes and I don't think we're available for too many state games either because of the ICC trophy," Clarke told Sportal.

"But the ICC Trophy is one tournament that Australia has never won so we will be looking to win that and the boys are keen for that."

Clarke, who resumed fitness training three weeks ago after spending some time hunting and fishing with Andrew Symonds in north Queensland, revealed that he will be using the ICC Trophy to make his major press for selection into the first XI for the Brisbane Test.

"I will be working my backside off to be selected in that team," said Clarke, who is cemented in the middle-order of the Australian one-day side with an impressive average of 44.

"There is going to be some tough selection choices to be made for the Ashes. Everyone wants to play but you can only pick 11 guys to run out on the field."

The exciting batsman also declared that he will not be changing the aggressive way he plays this summer.

"I am going to keep playing my way. I enjoy the way I play and it's got me to this level so far so I don't see why I need to stop," he said.

"I have just got to keep working hard and making sure I am putting in the time and effort at training and I am certain the results will look after themselves if I am doing that."

And while the former national Under-19 skipper admits that being dropped from the Test side during the West Indies series in Australia last November was a fair enough call, he still believes that he was hitting the ball well at the time and simply couldn't convert that into high scores.

"If you're not scoring runs you're not going to get selected, and that's what happened to me. I had no-one else to blame - my performances weren't good enough and as a consequence I lost my Test spot," said Clarke, before adding that he did take on board the opinions of ex-cricketers such as Steve Waugh who questioned his batting technique.

"I went back and worked really hard on my game and two days after I got dropped I scored a double-century for NSW. (Getting dropped) wasn't about form, I just couldn't find a way to score runs."

Meanwhile, Clarke said that there is no question about the motivation levels in the Australian team regarding the players' desire to regain the famous urn from England.

"England has a few injuries at the moment but I think they will be fit and ready to go by the time the Ashes comes around and I know all the Aussies who were in England last year that lost the Ashes are super keen to win them back," he said.

"The buildup is great for the game, and it is fitting, because it's going to be a massive series."

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